August 23, 2021
The stories and images coming out of Afghanistan resulting from the Taliban takeover of the Afghan government are heart-wrenching. For so many who have a direct connection or unique perspective, this is a particularly difficult time, with serious mental health repercussions: Service members and veterans who have served in Operation Enduring Freedom since 9/11 are slowly processing the events, concerned about Afghans they worked with still in the country, or experiencing combat stress anew. Afghan Americans are witnessing the unraveling of their native country, worried about their loved ones still there. And Afghan families fleeing from their homes are leaving everything behind, joining the nearly 2.5 million UNHCR-registered Afghan refugees worldwide.
Art therapists frequently work with service members, military families, and veterans as well as refugee populations, especially those experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), physical or emotional trauma, and other mental health issues in response to these events. AATA has compiled this list of mental health resources below to assist in providing information about emergency support, and other assistance for those who may be struggling during this difficult time.
Mental Health Emergency and Support Resources
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text 838255 to chat
- VA’s 8/17 post on common reactions and strategies for coping
- Headstrong, provides at no expense, confidential and stigma-free mental health treatment for military, veterans, and their families regardless of service era or discharge
- Give an Hour, support for those affected by natural disasters and man-made trauma
- Battle Buddy Response Team will deploy a Veteran Response Team to help a veteran in a mental health crisis to an address provided
- Download the VA’s National Center for PTSD apps
- Mental Health First Aid, a skills-based training course from the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, that teaches participants about mental health and substance-use issues
- Humanity Crew, specializing in the provision of first response mental health interventions to refugees
- Muslim American Society—Social Services Foundation, offering mental health support in five languages (English, Dari/Farsi, Pashto, Arabic, and Urdu)
- Amala Hopeline, accessible, confidential, culturally competent “warm lines” of peer counseling and resource referral for American Muslim Youth: call or text 855-95-Amala.
- Art Therapist Locator
Relief Funds and Aid Agencies—and How to Help
- Major international NGOs are seeking donations to support their front line work in Afghanistan: , including the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Rescue Committee, and the UN Human Rights Committee. The International Medical Corps is accepting donations to its Afghanistan emergency relief fund.
- Islamic Relief USA is accepting donations to help families struggling with hunger in Kabul, Balkh, Herat and Nangahar provinces.
- Women- and girls-focused organizations such as Women for Afghan Women, MADRE and Women for Women International are running emergency campaigns in Afghanistan.
- GlobalGiving, a crowdfunding network, launched the Afghanistan Emergency Fund to support families, activists and journalists, working with local partners in the country.
- Miles4Migrants accepts donated airline frequent flier miles, credit card points and cash to help people reunite with loved ones or resettle in a new country after war.
- Refugee Council U.S.A. is helping refugees feel safe and welcome as they enter the U.S.
- The Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service is seeking volunteers to assist Afghan refugees with airport pickups, housing and meals (in the Washington, D.C., region, Washington state and Texas).
- In Fremont, CA—one of the largest Afghan communities in the country—the city’s Human Services Department is raising money to provide direct assistance to Afghan refugees.
- The Nationalities Service Center, a refugee resettlement agency in Philadelphia, has volunteer opportunities for people welcoming Afghan families into their communities.